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BY ME114

05/01 Direct Link
I didnít want to start out the month with something unpleasant, but I feel the need to unburden. I hadnít been outside at all today, sleeping on and off. I didnít answer the barely audible knocks on the door. I prefer not to, anyway, especially being alone, and I wasnít dressed. It was probably the kid who cut my grass about 2 weeks ago. Tonight I went shopping with Kim, and saw my car has (literally) F U spray painted on it and small dents, looking like the door was kicked. Iím extremely upset. Iím definitely calling the police tomorrow.
05/02 Direct Link
So, I called the police. The officer said 2 or 3 other cars on my circle were also spray paint graffitied with ďFU.Ē He said theyíll put patrols in the area, and that this was probably done by kids, preteen or early teen, as Iíd figured. Itís one reason Iíd suspected the kids who mowed my lawn about two weeks ago, assuming there was a motive against me for not answering my door. The dents were old ones, looking different in daylight. Maybe whoever had knocked on my door had noticed the vandalism. ďGraffiti RemoverĒ spray got rid of it.
05/03 Direct Link
Seems itís only dogs, although last week, someone brought an African Grey parrot in a carrier. Today, I met two other women with their cats, also there for oncology.

No change in CB since last week that I can tell. One of my two usual vets will be away, so she wanted the new staff to see CB and be familiar with his case. Last time, the vet said that radiation wouldnít help CB anymore. Medication is to keep him comfortable, but the radiation was just palliative, too. They want to keep a close eye on his quality of life.
05/04 Direct Link
On Frontline was ďCollege Inc.Ē So many colleges now, many online, many advertisements. Iíd wondered and considered trying one. I didnít know most are for-profit. It seems the cons outweigh the pros. Sounds like a formula for financial disaster, combining the subprime lending fiasco with the healthcare crisis. Very expensive tuitions for fields where pay is not high enough generate many student loan defaults. As healthcare quality suffers to reap maximum profits for insurance companies, education is already compromised by the priority of profit making. As Iíd suspected, their degrees are often considered to be of relatively low worth.
05/05 Direct Link
What is Cinco de Mayo? I think I used to know. Iíve never had the chance to attend any celebrations for it; maybe I will someday. Iíll look it up. Thanks, Wikipedia.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexicoís victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, is not widely celebrated in Mexico except in the state of Puebla and is not to be confused with Mexicoís Independence Day. In the U.S. and around the world, itís a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

Fine, but why isnít Mexicoís Independence Day on September 16th more recognized and celebrated worldwide?
05/06 Direct Link
Iím collecting words. Just when I think I have a decent vocabulary, there are many I either donít know or am somewhat unsure about.

I like ďensoul.Ē

Diffident, turpitude, flagitious, insouciant, importune, ostensible, exanimate, discursive, spurious and quixotic are some I collected just now.

How about a paragraph:

Their ostensible insouciance easily hid their turpitude. They appeared to be glamorous and quixotic, charming crowds with discursive, spurious stories of their adventures. Secretly, I found them frightening. The more they importuned me to join them in their flagitious acts, the more helpless and diffident I felt. I was exhausted and exanimate.
05/07 Direct Link
I finally got the electric grill Iíve been wanting. So far, I like it. Iíve been wanting a panini press with the floating hinge and removable plates. I felt, how dare I spend the money, but I came up with three good justifications.

If I could afford a new and better stove, Iíd get one.

Having the sandwich grill, I was less tempted to eat in restaurants, but I donít like how it unevenly squashes the ingredients.

Most importantly is how much Iím dreading the summer. This will make it easier to cook certain things without heating up the kitchen.
05/08 Direct Link
I consider it an honor that I was invited to the Universityís commencement. Kimís eldest son graduated. Everything was well planned and well done. Kim got emotional, which was sweet.

Speeches were not very long, and the keynote speaker was Alton Brown. Iíd been looking forward to that, and assured Kim heíd be funny, not boring for even a minute, and of course, I was right. He gave good advice, too.

At the end of the ceremonies, there were fireworks, which turn me into a kid.

All in all, very nice and deservedly so for Kyle and all the graduates.
05/09 Direct Link
Today was Motherís Day. I was going to call Mom, but Kenny called me from her place and I spoke with her. I asked her if they were doing anything special there. She said no, except they gave them pink carnations which she was wearing. I sent the cards late because Iíd thought Motherís Day was coming next weekend. She didnít get hers yet. I tried calling my Mother-in-Law twice, but no answer. Iíll try again tomorrow. I want to be in touch with her more, but Iím afraid Iím too much of a reminder of losing Danny.
05/10 Direct Link
On PBSís American Experience was the history of the American whaling industry. Some years ago, I read In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. It was very engrossing. This documentary told the entire story and details came back to me. The tragedy of the Essex was Melvilleís inspiration for Moby Dick.

Before petroleum, the whaling industry made possible this countryís land expansion, the Industrial Revolution, and increased the U.S.ís worldwide economic power. But whaling was long, grueling, perilous and cruel, it severely decimated whale populations, and whale processing was disgusting.
05/11 Direct Link
I keep changing my mind on what I want to write about. I just want to try to sleep. My night and day have become switched again. I need to change that. Iím half looking forward to returning to school and half scared of not being able to handle it. I often wonder what Danny would think. Although I miss him all the time, sometimes I feel like Iím getting further from his memory or his spirit is not with me as often. Maybe itís because I still have to push away thoughts of the horror he did to himself.
05/12 Direct Link
Another great PBS documentary, American Masters, this time about The Doors. Again, details brought me back to a book from years ago. Danny and I had both read No One Here Gets Out Alive. Also engrossing. Then I bought two Jim Morrison poetry books.

Iíve loved The Doors music for years, although most of it was over my head when it was popular, but I was a kid. People who know of The Doors and Morrison only by reputation might be surprised at the bandís musical skill and Morrisonís knowledge and intellect. Get to know their music if you donít.
05/13 Direct Link
Itís always a little more nerve-wracking to bring two at once when theyíre both meowing at the same time as Iím driving, but they needed their shots. At least it saves a trip. Carrying them is not so easy for me, especially with Koji weighing 16 pounds, though he feels heavier. Then again, Iím not strong. Traveling is hard and confusing for them, but theyíre in good health. The vet likes my cats and their sweet personalities. He seems surprised at Catoís good health for 18, and has been getting the reports from the clinic where I bring CB.
05/14 Direct Link
Iíve been having so much trouble sleeping lately, even more than usual, mostly because of the heat. Then early in the morning, my two 18-year-old cats - yeah, the brothers - get very noisy. Even with the air conditioner blasting, my hot flashes are worse than ever. Iíve been getting those since my 30ís. Will this ever end? It always seems worse at night, but maybe itís more noticeable because Iím trying to sleep. But it is definitely worse in hot weather. The idea of someday moving to Canada is looking better and better to me, if I could.
05/15 Direct Link
Kim invited me to a West African cultural event. It was a fundraiser for her co-worker to take a missionary trip to Togo. We were both a bit disappointed that there wasnít anything to do with African culture except the food (most of which was too hot-spicy for me) and the outfits some people wore. There were dim slide shows, speeches that were more like a gospel meeting, and a girl and child did a long, repetitive gospel dance. Although Iím uncomfortable with evangelism, these missionaries do transport much-needed supplies, some of which I plan to contribute.
05/16 Direct Link
The book is about the authorís experiences with her African Grey parrot. I find animal communication interesting, and even more amazing in a bird who speaks English. So I went, and I invited Kim. She loves birds. Maybe we shouldnít have expected this book signing to include a performance. Later we realized, this is not an animal meant for show. I bought the book and spoke with the author. We did get to hear Cosmo (the parrot) speak a little, besides the tape. She said ďwanna cuddleĒ and ďwant up,Ē so her owner let her perch atop the cage handle.
05/17 Direct Link
CBís eyes have healed up almost completely, though that doesnít improve his vision. His tumor has only grown a little and heís gained some weight. He often gets loud for no apparent reason. Maybe he just enjoys bellowing and hearing his own voice. His excessive meowing may be due to his condition and/or the radiation affecting his brain. Thatís what the vet said. I was afraid heís been in pain, but she said no. Heís not lethargic. His shared grooming session with Koji the other day became a short wrestling match. Pretty good for an elderly cat with cancer.
05/18 Direct Link
Sophie was Cato and CBís mother. She came into our yard in 1992 with three kittens who were so young, they still had blue eyes. I ended up only giving away their sister, keeping Sophie and her boys, increasing our cat population to five. I am very grateful we did.

Iíve been thinking about Sophie lately. She was a beautiful long-haired calico with a soft, far-away meow and a sweet disposition. Danny was her favorite person. Sheíd walk on and knead his back always in the exact places he needed a massage.

I hope sheís with him now.
05/19 Direct Link
Once upon a time on a small piece of land that has long since been forgotten, on a day when no rain fell and no one was around, nothing notable happened. A breeze went through the grass, a cloud passed the sun throwing shadows of trees on the ground, and a bird flew by. A brook babbled, but other than that, it didnít have much to say. Someone in a house nearby thought of going out, but soon changed his mind. Somewhere else, a person died and another person was born. Then, the sun set and the moon came up.
05/20 Direct Link
The other day, I watched part of ďThe Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming.Ē Yes, Iíll always have an extra fondness for movies Iíve seen when they came out, especially from childhood. I think the first movie I saw was ďSnow WhiteĒ and the second, if I remember correctly, was ďThe Great RaceĒ which I loved! ďItís a Mad Mad Mad Mad WorldĒ kept me laughing, and I remember more. There werenít many movies for children then, except some from Disney. Still, weíd usually see whatever our parents wanted to see, whether it was Woody Allen or James Bond.
05/21 Direct Link
I listened to a program on the radio discussing the pros and cons of biofuel.
I have a prediction for the distant future, which Iíll probably never live to see: biofuel crop farming in space. Itís likely to become the only option, lest we end up destroying vast amounts of acreage, communities dependent on their land and all of our food supply. Biofuel crops will grow hydroponically or in soil in artificially-created environments, orbiting earth. These satellite farms will have to support workers living there. This will lead to all sorts of weird new medical, social and political maladies.
05/22 Direct Link
Went to see Big Don Band again. Kim and I ate at the nearby Mexican restaurant first. Great fajita salad! Troy came to the show, too, and sang one song. Good music, and I always enjoy seeing musician friends. Still, itís hard for me, bringing up another aspect of grief mixed with pride. Reminders of the absence of Danny and his brilliant guitar playing leaves as much of a chasm as ever. I know others miss him, of course. Don substituted Dannyís name ďÖwas the finest picker to ever play the bluesĒ (if you know Skynyrd, youíll know the song).
05/23 Direct Link
Iím grateful to Kim for allowing me to vent my grief sometimes. She really understands, especially since sheís still grieving the loss of her parents. They both passed away much too early; I think they were only in their sixties. Weíve both experienced people sometimes saying the wrong thing. We know itís well-meaning, but never tell someone whoís grieving, ďYouíll get over it.Ē We donít get over it. They also say, ďIt gets better with time.Ē Uh, yes and no. We agreed that it doesnít really get better, it just sort of changes. Thereís no time limit on grief.
05/24 Direct Link
Up late again, but trying to sleep earlier doesnít help. I only sleep about four hours at a time. Iíve probably written about this before, maybe more than once. Right now, I donít care. I just want to get this over with. I want to desire to write something worthwhile, but Iím lazy and not in the mood. I did collect some more vocabulary words and thought Iíd do another sentence or paragraph using some as I did before, but that took a really long time to write. It was fun, but I donít want to spend the time now.
05/25 Direct Link
So, what do you think is the best invention that has made life more pleasant and livable? The lightbulb? Home electricity? Indoor plumbing? Television and radio? The telephone? The car? Aside from those, I mean. The computer and cellphone in their many forms are great, but life doesnít seem impossible without them since they didnít exist for most of my life. I keep coming back to the washing machine and the air conditioner. Refrigeration goes with that, of course. Iíve lived without air conditioning and I wonít do it again. As it is, I donít have enough of it here.
05/26 Direct Link
I went to Kimís other sonís graduation, this one for high school. Outdoors, good weather, nice all around. I hadnít been to a high school commencement since my own. So many years ago! Again, I feel honored that Kim and her family invited me. The keynote speaker (I assume) who outlined nice principles to live by, spoke too long. In the middle she started with, ďLet me tell you about my mornings when I get up at fiveÖĒ Iíd never do a commencement speech unless I could make it funny. Liked the band and chorus. Congratulations, to Ray and all!
05/27 Direct Link
I watched a documentary on Operation Pedro Pan. Iíd never heard of this. I remember as a child hearing disturbing news concerning Cuba and the Cold War. Looking up more info. Between 1960 and í62, more than 14,000 children were sent by their parents to the United States. (I was a baby at the time.) The original intent was to wait until the Castro regime fell. Some went to live in camps, many were scattered to foster homes. Not all parents made it to the U.S. to reunite with their children. The individual stories are mostly tragic but triumphant.
05/28 Direct Link
Just read and added a reply to a long thread on Cat of the Day. What a story! Go to the site Pet of the Day, then to Pet Talk, then Cat, then Cat General, then to ďLook what I found on my back porch today!Ē Begin at the last page to read the first entry and see the photos. I could include the URLís, but this is just as easy. As the postings progress, there are happy moments, sad ones, and itís suspenseful. I know that unsure feeling of what to do next. My heart goes out to her.
05/29 Direct Link
Writing this by hand to edit later. Asleep and awake all day and night. Woke up not knowing Iíd fallen asleep again, to interesting dream images as Foo Fighters on Austin City Limits was playing. They just finished the last song as I write this. Now theyíre talking about not getting much sleep. Yeah, I can relate. Danny liked Foo Fighters. Again, I had one of those moments where I miss Danny so much, itís unbearable. I somehow push away these feelings. Maybe there is a part of my brain that, out of sheer survival, wonít let me grieve fully.
05/30 Direct Link
There we were again tonight, Kim and I, grocery shopping after dinner. This little restaurant/take-out place has the best Egg Fu Yung anywhere. Itís fairly dead out there, very little traffic, even less than usual lately because the students are gone for the summer, or at least for awhile. I donít know if less people are traveling for the Memorial Day weekend than usual. Could be. Itís been raining on and off these past few days. Iíd much rather have rain than heat. Lately, Iíve given one last thought to going to New York, but no. Not now.
05/31 Direct Link
Reviewing what I wrote: The graffiti vandalism incident, CB's latest vet visit, for-profit colleges, Cinco de Mayo, vocabulary words, electric grill/panini press replaces my sandwich grill, Kyle's graduation, Mother's Day, American whaling history, sleep and grief, The Doors documentary, two cats go to the vet at the same time, more trouble sleeping in the heat, Cosmo the parrot, CB's condition, remembering Sophie, fiction where nothing happens, movies of my childhood, biofuel, Big Dan Band, no time limit on grief, not wanting to write, inventions, Ray's graduation, Operation Pedro Pan, cat story thread, Foo Fighters on TV, night shopping.